DooleyBall is officially done.
It was announced yesterday afternoon that after three seasons as Vols head coach, Derek Dooley would not return to Knoxville. But should this come as a surprise?
After firing Phillip Fulmer in 2008, Tennessee went looking for a new young hire. They found Lane Kiffin and got burned. To put out the firestorm, former athletic director Mike Hamilton decided on a name rather than a resume, again.
Son of legendary Georgia head coach Vince Dooley, Derek was the one who would right the big orange ship. Instead, Rocky Top looked a lot like Derek’s previous stop. Dooley was hired from Louisiana Tech with a losing record, 17-20. Dooley was fired from Tennessee with a losing record, 15-21. There’s a trend.
Graduating with a law degree, Dooley was more of an administrator than a head football coach. More of a delegator than a motivator. In my opinion, it was a sub-par hire by a school that had the money, the history and will to win.
Now new AD Dave Hart has a chance to, one, go out and get his guy, and two, make a name for himself to get on the side of the Volunteer Nation. Hart must now get a coach that has a worthy name and resume that gets a disappointed fan base excited to cheer and buy more Petros.
Here’s a list of candidates.
1 = not a chance
10 = ready to be interviewed
Jon Gruden - 0 - Just stop with this. Andy Reid is about to go and Gruden was the OC in Philly from 1995-1997. The Eagles have money, lots of money. The west coast offense won’t work in the SEC and Gruden likes studying film, not talking to parents. Calling Monday Night Football is a good gig….need I go on.
Charlie Strong - 8 - Strong has been an assistant in the SEC before and his success at Louisville (9-1) is not being recognized by anyone. In the SEC, it would.
Kirby Smart - 7 - Would be a good hire because Smart is a defensive guy and UTs defense was horrendous in 2012. Not many Vols fans want to break off another ‘Saban Branch’ because what happened with Dooley but Smart should get a look.
Gary Patterson - 3 - Patterson is more likely to pick up and go to Arkansas and take his defensive coordinator and Hog Alum Dick Bumpas with him.
Chris Pettersen - 2 - If he hasn’t left already, he’s not leaving for Knoxville. A west coast guy who has had much success would be a great splash, but not going to happen.
David Cutcliffe - 4 - Has given Duke a new look on the game we call football. Heading to a bowl game but Dave Hart wants his own guy, not old UT scraps.
Phillip Fulmer - 0 - Moving forward is not going backwards. Phil would love to get a look but this will not happen.
Al Golden - 8 - Golden didn’t expect the mess that was left on South Beach for him. This would be a slight step up to move into the SEC but can probably win more games in the ACC. Vols fans would welcome him.
Doug Marrone - 5 - Who is the Syracuse head coach for those who have never heard of him. I don’t think this would be a good hire but it wouldn’t surprise me because of the amount of money going out the door to former Rocky Top coaches. He would be cheaper – Dooley, Fulmer, Summitt, & Pearl.
Jimbo Fisher – 2 - Win in the ACC or lose in the SEC. Your choice Jimbo.
Mike Riley - Riley is the head coach at Oregon State and has a 5-1 bowl record. A DB at Alabama, he knows the SEC and wouldn’t be a pricey hire.
Mike Leach - Things aren't fine and dandy at Washington State and Leach would bring you a high octane offense. Only problem is...UT needs defense.
Bobby Petrino - Too much risk. Petrino has proved that he can win in the SEC but rolling the dice on someone that has a history of leaving teams and blonde twenty-five year olds on the side of the road, isn't the answer for Tennessee.
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